Oskarshamn 1 to shut next year

17 February 2016

OKG AB has confirmed that unit 1 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden will close in 2017. Last year it announced the reactor would be shut down between 2017 and 2019.

Oskarshamn 1 - 460 (OKG)
Unit 1 of the Oskarshamn plant (Image: OKG)

German utility Eon - the major shareholder in OKG - decided in October 2015 that units 1 and 2 of the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant in Sweden will be shut down permanently. Unit 3 is unaffected by the decision. At that time it said unit 1 would close between 2017 and 2019, and that there will be no future investments at unit 2 and the reactor will not be restarted. The company attributed the closure decision on low wholesale electricity prices, the burden of Sweden's tax on nuclear power and "additional requirements on extensive investments".

OKG announced yesterday that its board of directors had now decided to shut down Oskarshamn 1 in conjunction with a planned outage at the end of June 2017. The company said the closure timing "is best suited from an overall perspective".

The company noted that the closure of the unit cannot begin until the required permits are issued by the Swedish Land and Environmental Court and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

OKG applied last July for an environmental court ruling in preparation for the future decommissioning of Oskarshamn 1, a 473 MWe boiling water reactor (BWR) that started up in 1972.

Oskarshamn 2 is a 638 MWe BWR which began operating in 1974, while Oskarshamn 3 is a 1400 MWe BWR which began operating in 1985.

OKG CEO Johan Dasht said, "We will as always ensure a reliable and safe operation until the closing date." He added, "An orderly and planned closure of Oskarshamn 1 is conditional upon having motivated employees that are fully focused on production up to the date of closure, but who must also be focused on new assignments in other modes of operation."

Once the unit is shut down, there will be four phases to its decommissioning, OKG said. In the first phase, fuel will be removed from its reactor and stored in its fuel pools for about one year, before being transported to SKB's near-by used fuel facility at Clab. When all fuel has been removed from the unit, it will enter a phase of care and maintenance. Later on, physical dismantling and demolition of the unit will begin. Once the site is cleared and classified as free from radioactivity it can be used for other purposes.

OKG said, "An exact schedule for the length of time it will take before the facilities can be demolished and the restoration of the land can commence is currently not available."

Vattenfall - owner of a 70.4% stake in Sweden's Ringhals plant - announced in late April 2015 that it intended to bring forward the closure of units 1 and 2 of the plant to 2018-2020 instead of 2025 as previously planned, due to declining profitability and increased costs. In October it confirmed that Ringhals 2 is to be decommissioned in 2019 and Ringhals 1 in 2020.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News